Meet the Alumni

Michelle Cruz

New York, NY

Food Service/Restaurants
Year founded
East Harlem Cafe
Partner College
LaGuardia Community College

Business Overview

Michelle started East Harlem Café in 2008. She works to provide an atmosphere that differentiates her business for the local bodegas and fast food restaurants. Her inspiration was financial independence and the desire to offer a positive and "happening" place that reflects the history of East Harlem. To this end, the Café regularly hosts events featuring local musicians, authors and the like.


Michelle is proud of her reputation as a business owner who gives back to the local community. She plans to leverage what she has learned from the program to grow the Café by effectively marketing its catering services.


Since enrolling in the program, Michelle has successfully renegotiated two of her three loans and is looking to hire an additional staff member.